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East County Thursday, Mar. 7, 2019 5 months ago

Irish Celtic Festival gets green light

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Favorite Irish events return to support the nonprofit, SUGAR.
by: Andrew Atkins Staff Writer

Don’t be surprised if you get pinched if you aren’t wearing green to the Lakewood Ranch Irish Celtic Festival March 9.

“The people are green, the table linens are green, and the beer is green,” noted Keith Pandeloglou, the director of Lakewood Ranch Community Activities, which is presenting the event.

The 10th annual event continues to grow, Pandeloglou said. He is expecting about 2,000 people.

“This is a good opportunity to learn about a different culture even if you’re not of that heritage,” he said. “If you’re not Irish, you can pretend to be.”

Fan-favorite activities return, including the “Best Legs in a Kilt” contest, the scavenger hunt and the Lucky Dog Parade.

Visitors can also take part in a beer-drinking relay race, where there’s a prize for first place, best costume, and last place.

Beer proceeds go toward local nonprofit SUGAR (Showing Unconditional Goodwill And Respect).

Stefanie Guido, a co-founder of SUGAR, said the funds are important.

“When we have additional funding, we can open the door for more kids to participate and give back to the community,” she said. 

Besides the funding, Guido said she just enjoys the festival.

“It’s one of our favorites,” she said. 

Chris McComas, owner of MVP Sports and Social, said his company coordinates some of the activities, like cornhole.

“The atmosphere alone is worth going,” he said. “You’re going to hear bagpipes. You’re going to see a lot of happy faces.”

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